Postcolonial Narratives: Discourse and Epistemological Spaces


  • Lisa Cary
  • Kagendo Mutua Mutua


By bringing together critical discourse analysis of personal narratives and postcolonial theory, this work addresses other ways of knowing in the academy and provides different lenses of discourse analysis. Specifically, this paper presents two narratives from international faculty in the U.S. academy. Drawing upon work by Phillion (2002) and He (2002), we use our narratives to enter into a discussion of how we have attempted to successfully negotiate the academy and also attempt to maintain our own postcolonial identities. To this end, we also used the lens of postcolonial theory to analyze our narratives and frame our discussions. We explore the im/possible spaces that our deterritorialized consciousness' inhabit and roam by revealing the epistemological spaces discursively produced within/against the U.S. academy (Fairclough, 1995; Foucault, 1977). Further, we explore how our intellectual neo-nomadism allows us to be simultaneously aware of, yet free from boundaries, whilst remaining conscious of the "ideological aggressivity" (MacCannell, 1994) of knowledge production for the U.S. academy. In conclusion, we suggest that the field might benefit from 'hearing' such narratives, complicated by an added layer of theory, to increase the understanding of the study of discourse and the academy.

Author Biographies

Lisa Cary

Lisa J. Cary is a Senior Lecturer at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. She recently returned to Australia after many years of working overseas in Canada and the United States of America. Her research centers on the analysis of social and educational discourses in education. She draws upon postmodern theories of curriculum, including poststructural feminist and postcolonial theories to highlight issues of exclusion and erasure. Her work appears in The International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, The Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, and Theory and Research in Social Education. Her first book, Curriculum Spaces: Discourse, Postmodern Theory and Educational Research, came out in 2006.


Kagendo Mutua Mutua

Kagendo Mutua is an associate professor of Special Education at The University of Alabama. Her research interests include issues of equity and access in education vis-à-vis race, class, gender, and rurality of adolescents and young adults with severe/multiple disabilities. Her work appears in a number of publications, including Journal of Special Education, Educational Studies and a co-edited volume, Decolonizing Research: Critical Personal Narratives, SUNY (2004).